As a navy wife, I have been transplanted across the country, away from my friends, my aging grandmother, my mother, my entire (and very large) family on my husband’s side. I have been thrown into a world where people form bonds quickly; over night neighbors are best friends, and we tell our fears to people who we have only just met. As I see it, it is a strange social experiment where we see the necessity that is connectedness.
When our heart is broken, when we are home sick, when our feelings are “hurt”, our body reacts physically. It is not an exaggeration when someone gets dumped and they say they feel like they have been stabbed in the heart. It does! It is the bodies reaction to being cut off from social interaction with a particular person, or a group as whole. “In one of the recent studies on the health benefits of social relationships, published earlier this year, researchers provided evidence that social ties and increased contact with family and friends are associated with a lower risk of death in young women with breast cancer. Another presented a similar conclusion with respect to surviving heart surgery. What’s more, a 2010 meta-analysis of 148 other studies showed that social connection doesn’t just help us survive health problems: the lack of it causes them.” (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/streams-of-consciousness/2012/04/24/the-importance-of-being-social/)
It is no surprise then, when a holistic nutrition consultant goes in to see a client, one of the questions that we ask is about their relationships. There are many articles written on cultivating happiness by removing negative relationships in our life, and we must always keep this in mind. Our health not only depends on our interactions, but the quality of that interaction as well. We need to get a better understanding of the support they will receive, and the stress a bad relationship plays on their overall health. Bad relationships, or lack of relationships altogether, cause us just as much stress as the ones from traffic jams and work. The stress hormone, cortisol, can prevent us from losing weight, even causing us to gain weight by lowering thyroid function. It also lowers immunity, decreases bone density, and impairs our ability to think clearly.
Of course, we all need different levels of social interaction. Some of us surround ourselves with large groups of friends while others are content with merely posting on social networking sights. A mention of our pets, too, should be noted. Having an animal companion has been shown to reduce stress and improve health. But regardless of how much or how little you require, (and only you can know) we are all effected by the people around us. We are all connected.
I have said it many times, holistic health encompasses every aspect of our life. It is a balancing act that we must maintain at all times. Always bear in mind how our connections with those around us effect not only our minds, but our bodies too.
This article was written with you, my readers, in mind. You span the globe from Mexico to Slovakia, America to India, and all the countries in between. You are part of MY connectedness. Thank you all for reading, liking, and sharing my articles. I love the feedback that I get, the encouragement and the love. It is my deepest wish that you all do well in life, finding meaningful connections with those near and far.